Plastic bag charge waived for online deliveries

Written by: Maddie Ballard | Published:
The waiver is expected to last until 21 September

The 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has been waived for online grocery orders, in an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus and speed up deliveries.

The waiver came into effect on 21 March and is expected to last until 21 September 2020.

It currently applies only in England.

The waiver is one of several new measures put in place to protect the health and safety of customers and delivery drivers, and cope with increased demand in the face of the pandemic.

At a press conference last weekend, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The challenge that all of our retailers have faced is keeping shelves stocked throughout the day, in the face of increased purchasing behaviour.”

In addition to waiving the plastic bag charge, the government has taken several steps to speed and support the supply chain, he said.

“The government has taken steps to set aside rules restricting delivery to stores and relaxed restriction on driver hours so that more goods can be delivered to every store every day.

“We have also set aside competition rules so that supermarkets can coordinate their efforts locally, sharing staff, sharing delivery vehicles, and coordinating store opening times to ensure that food reaches every part of the country.”

Eustice urged the British public not to stockpile in panic.

“There is more than enough food to go round,” he said.

The plastic bag charge was introduced in England in 2015 in an attempt to reduce plastic waste and encourage people to reuse shopping bags.

By October 2018, the charge had seen a decrease of 86% in plastic bag sales in England’s seven biggest supermarkets.

Plans to increase the plastic bag charge to 10p have been under discussion since last year.

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